Shearman & Sterling advised the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in connection with the extension of an approximately US$465 million secured loan for the refinancing of the Central 70 Project in Colorado. The loan, issued under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, will fund improvements to an approximately 10-mile stretch of I-70 East in the greater Denver area. The new TIFIA loan, with a reduced interest rate allowing for an additional principal amount of nearly $50 million to reach project completion, replaces the TIFIA loan that closed in 2017, for which Shearman also represented USDOT. The project is also supported by tax exempt private activity bonds and taxable bonds each issued by the Colorado Bridge and Tunnel Enterprise, a government-owned business within the Colorado Department of Transportation, in addition to sponsor equity.
The project, which is expected to be complete by early 2023, will add one new tolled express lane in each direction, remove an existing viaduct, lower a portion of the highway, and place a four-acre park over that portion of the highway, which will reconnect three Denver neighborhoods that were separated when the highway was originally constructed.
The borrower, which is owned by affiliates of Meridiam Infrastructure and Kiewit Corporation, entered into a project agreement in November 2017 with the Colorado Bridge and Tunnel Enterprise and High Performance Transportation Enterprise (as co-authorities) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project under an approximately 35-year public-private partnership (P3).